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L.A. public library cuts back, but ALOUD series won't change

March 26, 2010 | 10:05 am


On Thursday, the L.A. Public Library board of commissioners voted to cut back hours at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles and at eight regional libraries, which had previously been open longer than branch libraries. On Sundays, all libraries will be closed. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the regional libraries will open later, and on Wednesday and Monday evenings, they and the Central Library will close at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

The popular ALOUD series, which brings authors to Los Angeles to read and discuss their work, is frequently held on Wednesday nights at the Central Library. At first, it looked as though the closure would affect upcoming events with Amy Wilentz, Sebastian Younger and others.

But ALOUD curator Louise Steinman tells Jacket Copy that is not the case; ALOUD will continue even as the main library is closed. The Taper Auditorium, where the conversations with writers take place, can be accessed separately from the library's main entrance. People coming to the ALOUD series on Wednesday nights will be asked to use a formerly shuttered entrance on 5th Street.

As for evening events at other libraries, LAPL public information director Peter Persic says, "we're having to reschedule the ones that were scheduled on the nights and days that we're going to be closed." He recommends checking with the librarians at the individual branch libraries for more information.

The library continues to face budget pressures; a hiring freeze means the department is suffering from a 20% vacancy rate, and layoffs are pending. Maeve Reston reports, "City Librarian Martín J. Gómez told City Council members Wednesday that if those cuts advance, he may only be able to keep the city’s libraries open five days a week."

There are still a few Sundays left for readers to enjoy the library; the truncated hours will begin on April 11th.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The center lobby of downtown's Central Library. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times